SES Engineering Services gets two London projects

ses-engineering-services-gets-two-london-projectsSES Engineering Services is building on its major success at the heart of the redevelopment of King’s Cross after winning a duo of central London new build projects.

The company was appointed to deliver mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services on the 12-storey S2 Grade A office building as part of the King’s Cross regeneration scheme.

The company has been awarded an £18.6 million MEP contract to deliver Barts Square Phase One, a new £110 million high-end residential development in the St Bart’s Hospital area in Farringdon.

SES will continue work with Carillion on the commercial King’s Cross project – and will be working with client Helical Plc for the first time to deliver 144 luxury apartments with a selection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses located in seven property blocks.

The dual wins represent a major milestone for SES’ London and South East operation and are testament to SES’ reputation for delivering innovative, cost and time saving off-site manufacturing solutions on logistically challenging city-centre projects.

SES’s engineering expertise was fundamental to its appointment on the King’s Cross S2 project, in response to the client’s requirement to deliver the very latest Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology.

Tim Cunningham, SES Regional Director, London and South East also said: “This is a truly exciting time for our London and South East operation and the growth of our business is down to our teams’ exemplary work and innovative off-site approach.

We’re tremendously proud of our work on The Plimsoll Building and the Gasholder residential schemes at King’s Cross so we’re thrilled to continue that relationship for the S2 office project.

Likewise, our ability to deliver these critical city-centre residential schemes on time and on budget has been essential to winning the innovative and prestigious Barts Square project.”

Birmingham unveils £1bn investment plans for growth and jobs

birmingham-unveils-1bn-investment-plans-for-growthAlmost £1 billion of investment is being committed to redevelop a part of Birmingham that will pave the way for thousands of new jobs and homes.

The Curzon Investment Plan is an ambitious 30-year strategy to unlock and regenerate the 141 hectares of land around the planned HS2 Curzon Street Station, led by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) and Birmingham City Council.

Creating 36,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes, unlocking 600,000 sqm of commercial floor space and connecting the eastside of Birmingham to the rest of the city and beyond; the investment is the first major financial commitment by any local area in the country to use HS2’s arrival as a catalyst for regeneration. It also has the potential to add £1.4 billion to the local economy.

Plans include the development of Curzon Street Station itself, several new neighbourhoods, offices and retail spaces. The creation of stunning public places such as the Curzon Promenade and Curzon Square – which will incorporate the original Curzon Station, a Grade I listed building.

In total £907 million is being allocated to a variety of projects, and is made up of £586.8 million from the GBSLEP, which draws funds from business rates within the Enterprise Zone and £137.2 million from the newly formed devolved government, West Midlands Combined Authority.

A further £183.3 million towards the cost of delivering Metro extension projects, connecting the eastside of the city to central Birmingham and out to Birmingham International Airport and Solihull, where another HS2 station, an interchange, is planned.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I’m delighted that Greater Birmingham is making this investment in the future, working to maximise the potential of HS2 by investing in jobs and housing – and encouraging more business investment.

It was in Birmingham where I outlined my plan to build an economy that works for all, with a proper industrial strategy that delivers prosperity, job creation and higher wages across the country, not just in London.”

Steve Hollis, Deputy Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP), said: “The Curzon Investment Plan is the first major commitment by a local area to maximise the impact of HS2.

It outlines how we will use HS2 as a trigger to transform an area of untapped potential in Birmingham’s city core and create thousands of new jobs, homes and places for businesses to thrive.

This demonstrates clearly what we can achieve in this region by being given the right tools by central government, to unlock our own future economic success.

Our commitment to invest is a bold statement of intent for how we will utilise HS2 as a catalyst for growth at every step. By setting out our plans and investing now, we will begin to realise the economic benefits of HS2 far sooner.”

Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It is an unprecedented time for Birmingham and the wider region. By working with partners from across the region, we have fuelled an economic renaissance with significant inward investment and the implementation of major infrastructure schemes.”

Employment reaches a record high

employment-reaches-a-record-highThe number of people in work is at a record high with nearly 175,000 more people in work up to July 2016, compared to the previous 3 months.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed today that there are 31.77 million people now in work – up by more than 550,000 in the past year and by 2.7 million since 2010.

The employment rate in the UK continues to run at a record high of 74.5%, and the unemployment rate holds firm at 4.9% – its lowest in more than 10 years.

The rise in employment continues to be driven by full-time work, which has accounted for 75% of the growth since 2010. Average wages including bonuses grew by 2.3% over the last year.

Work and Pensions Secretary of State, Damian Green, said: “It’s great to see another record-breaking set of figures out this month with the unemployment rate at a 10-year low and wages growing healthily.

We know that there are fewer children living in workless households too, which underlines our efforts to help people move into employment and to build a Britain that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

But there’s more to do, and we will continue to work with businesses to help more people take up the wealth of opportunities out there in the economy.”

Morgan Sindall wins £2.2m contract

morgan-sindall-wins-2-2m-contractMorgan Sindall has been appointed to construct a £2.2 million storage facility in Exeter that will be completed for the start of spring 2017.

The project for Britannia Lanes Storage and Removals Ltd is already underway and includes the demolition of two buildings on Hennock Road East to make way for a five-storey storage facility.

The warehouse-style building will include over 700 storage containers; ten individual self-storage drive up units and three trade counter units, all with 24/7 number plate recognition access.

The self-store facility will provide 30,000 sq. ft. of storage space and be available for both commercial and residential usage.

Morgan Sindall will also deliver external works as part of the project, including a car parking area and an on-site washing facility for large vehicles.

Rob Lane, director at Britannia Lanes Storage and Removals Ltd, said: “Since Britannia Lanes of Devon commenced operations in 1992, we have enjoyed great success and expanded our existing warehouse as well as renting additional storage space to fit with the growing demand.

Within the same period we’ve expanded our other branches in Cornwall and Somerset, as well as acquiring a new branch in Bristol. With our continued success, we thought now was the right time to reinvest in our Exeter location.

We have been looking for a new site for many years in order to create the first purpose-built removal and self-storage facility within the South West and are proud to be months away from realising our objectives with a state of the art modern facility. ”

Nigel Whelan, area manager at Morgan Sindall, said: “We’re very pleased to have been appointed to deliver this important scheme. The new building will provide 30,000 sq. ft. of much needed storage space for businesses and residents in Exeter and makes the best use of the space.”

Morgan Sindall has recently been appointed to deliver a £800,000 digital humanities laboratory for the University of Exeter. The project is already underway and includes a two-storey extension of the existing Queen’s Building. The project will also include a range of refurbishment works at the Thornlea Building.

Lovell project director appointed for 800-home urban village

lovell-project-director-appointed-for-800-home-urban-villageLovell has appointed Lee Woodfine as project director for The Mill: an £100 million urban village set to bring 800 new homes and boost the building trades.

Construction work will start later this year on the development at Canton which is being created by a partnership of the Tirion Group, Cadwyn and Lovell.

Lee’s appointment sees him return to Lovell after previously working with the company in South Wales for nearly a decade, leaving in 2010.

His 20-year construction career has also included senior management roles with residential developer Kier Living, developer Sennybridge and construction services company ISG.

Lee, who lives in Blackwood, Caerphilly, said: “I’m delighted to be working on this fantastic development which will significantly extend the available choice of new-build homes for sale and for rent in Cardiff, through the creation of a brand-new riverside community. The Mill will be a superb place to live.”

Later this year, Lovell will start construction work of the new homes at The Mill which is set to transform the 53-acre former Arjo Wiggins Paper Mill site.

One of Wales’ biggest urban regeneration projects, the construction programme is expected to create over 1,000 jobs, many for people living locally, as well as significant training opportunities.

Funding boost for low carbon schemes

The Scottish GovernmentBidders hoping to share a £8 million European Regional Development fund (ERDF) have been given a boost thanks to Transport Scotland.

Thirty nine projects will benefit from support of up to £10k each, enabling them to develop ideas in preparation for launch of the ERDF Low Carbon Travel and Transport (LCTT) challenge fund later this year.

Many of the bids aim to deliver local regeneration and economic development benefits, while boosting growth and creating new jobs.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands said: “We need to maximise this ERDF investment to support our low carbon travel and transport aspirations by establishing a strong network of these across Scotland by December 2018.

The Pre-Application Support Fund received a high-level of interest and I’m delighted that funding is being offered to a wide range of public sector bodies, as well as a number of community and third sector organisations to help them develop their ideas.

The quality of the applications received is pleasing and I hope that many of these will be developed to form strong bids for the full ERDF challenge fund, once this launches later in the year.”

Morgan Sindall to build £10.3m Bromsgrove leisure centre

morgan-sindall-to-build-10-3m-leisure-centreBromsgrove District Council has appointed Morgan Sindall to build a £10.3 million state-of-the-art leisure centre, which will include two swimming pools.

Plans for the development, on School Drive, will see the installation of a climbing wall, a 100-station fitness suite and a 25-station group cycling studio across a two-storey building.

The larger swimming pool will measure 25 x 12.5 metres and alongside it will be a learner pool measuring 15 x 10 metres which will feature an adjustable floor.

Work is scheduled to begin this year and the new centre is expected to be open by the end of 2017.

Morgan Sindall area director, Richard Fielding, said: “We’re pleased to be involved in this project and confident that the finished facility will be well received by the local community.

Once complete it will provide the people of Bromsgrove with a modern environment in which to exercise and prove an enduring addition to the leisure offering in the area.”

The centre will be self-funding, unlike the current Dolphin Centre which runs at a heavy annual loss, and the process of selecting a day-to-day operator to run it will shortly take place.

The leisure centre is the latest redevelopment in Bromsgrove under a strategic Town Centre regeneration partnership of public bodies that was formed in 2010 to redevelop areas of the town, making major efficiency savings across the public purse.

This has led to the total revamp of the high street, major retail developments coming forward across the town and a near-total overhaul of public buildings.

Willmott Dixon to deliver grade A office scheme in Birmingham

willmott-dixon-to-deliver-grade-a-office-scheme-in-birminghamThe significant refurbishment of one of Birmingham’s most well-known buildings has taken a step forward with the appointment of Willmott Dixon as contractor.

Legal & General Property (LGP) which owns the Lewis Building on Bull Street has appointed the construction and regeneration specialist to carry out the comprehensive refurbishment.

When completed, the Lewis Building will offer 114,000 sq ft of contemporary Grade A office space set behind a classic Portland Stone façade.

The £18 million contract will see Willmott Dixon strip back the interior of the building to shell and core, remodeling the building to provide floorplates of 17,000 sq ft – some of the largest in the city’s business district – along with a new 12,000 sq ft, fully glazed seventh story with roof terraces.

All floors will receive high quality finishes throughout and the building will benefit from new mechanical and electrical systems.

The company is also building the National College for High Speed Rail in Duddeston to train HS2 engineers and transforming the Millennium Quarter with another project for Birmingham City University, this time expanding the Curzon building.

Tom Williams, Senior Asset Manager, Legal & General Property, said: “The Lewis Building represents a fantastic opportunity for Birmingham’s commercial market and we have already seen considerable interest from some of the larger requirements currently looking to identify space.”

Formerly known as Temple Court, the Lewis Building was originally built as a department store in the 1920s by renowned 19th Century philanthropist, David Lewis and has been an integral part of Birmingham’s city core for almost 100 years.

Willmott Dixon’s managing director in the Midlands, Peter Owen: “We are hugely proud of our role in creating Birmingham’s exciting new future with these projects, and are excited to be creating superb Grade A offices in the heart of the city’s business district.“

Birmingham signs £2bn scheme with Chinese developer

birmingham-signs-2bn-scheme-with-chinese-developerBirmingham City Council has signed a deal with the fifth-largest property developer in China that could be worth up to £2bn to the local economy.

As part of the agreement, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company Country Garden will explore large-scale investment opportunities in Birmingham, with particular focus around HS2.

It also agreed to work with the council to deliver large numbers of new homes.

Council leader John Clancy signed the joint statement of investment commitment with Country Garden on a week-long trade mission to China.

Cllr Clancy said: “The landscape has inevitably changed post-Brexit and Birmingham is already out of the starting blocks. That’s why I’m here selling our city to many of China’s leading investors.

This agreement is about bringing good jobs and quality homes to Birmingham.

Country Garden has a proven track record of building homes at pace and scale. They have played a major role over the last 20 years, as housebuilders have met the massive demands of China’s rapidly expanding economy.”

Founded in 1992, Country Garden has developed 300 high-end township developments, 54 five-star hotels and more than 2.5 million properties.

Country Garden founder and chairman Yang Guoqiang added: “I have been impressed with Birmingham’s ambition and huge potential.

We have a proven track record in delivering quality housing at a scale to match Birmingham’s ambitions and with major projects coming to the city, including the forthcoming High Speed two project, these are exciting times for Country Garden and Birmingham.”

New Bill will boost growth and house building

Government welcomes house building boostMeasures in the new Neighbourhood Planning Bill will support more house building and provide support to local developments, the Housing and Planning Minister announced this week.

The Bill will speed up and strengthen the popular neighbourhood planning process by simplifying how plans can be revised as local circumstances change and ensure that plans come into force sooner once approved by local people.

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that we need to build more homes and this Bill is the first of a number of measures to deliver on that.

“We have already built more than 900,000 homes since 2010 and now this Bill will help speed up delivery of the further new homes our country needs and ensure our foot is still firmly on the pedal.

“We’re also going further than ever before to speed up neighbourhood planning which puts power in the hands of local people to decide where development gets built.”

There will also be a simplifying of the compulsory purchase order process to make it clearer, fairer and faster.

Further Bill measures will ensure that planning conditions which require developers to take action before work starts are only used where strictly necessary, but in a way that ensures important heritage and environmental safeguards remain in place, so that once a developer has planning permission they can get on and start building as soon as possible.

This government is determined to boost home building and is taking forward the boldest ambition for housing in a generation, with a pledge to deliver one million new homes and a doubling of the housing budget to £20 billion.